Breakthrough 3D Images from Glasgow University

Glasgow University

Physicists at Glasgow University have found a way to make sophisticated but low-cost to produce 3D images without using conventional digital cameras. Their system uses simple, cheap detectors which use a single pixel — instead of the millions — to sense light. These detectors can sense frequencies beyond visible light, potentially opening up new uses for 3D imaging in medicine and industry. For example, the researchers suggest that the technique could be used to locate oil or help doctors find tumours.

Professor Miles Padgett Glasgow University
Professor Miles Padgett
Glasgow University
Prof Miles Padgett who led the team at the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, explained that “single-pixel detectors in four different locations are used to detect light from a data projector, which illuminates objects with a rapidly-shifing sequence of black-and-white patterns similar to crossword puzzles. When more of the white squares of these patterns overlap with the object, the intensity of the light reflected back to the detectors is higher. A series of projected patterns and the reflected intensities are used in a computer algorithm to produce a 2D image.”

He added that a 3D image was then created by combining images from the four detectors using a well-known technique called “shape from shade”. This method known as “ghost imaging” produces detailed images of objects in just a few seconds. Contrast this with conventional 3D imaging systems which use several camera sensors to produce a 3D image from 2D information. It means that careful calibration is needed to make sure the many images are correctly aligned.

3D Images from Glasgow University
3D Images from Glasgow University
As the Professor pointed out, “Our single-pixel system creates images with a similar degree of accuracy without the need for such detailed calibration.”

Lead author on the paper Baoqing Sun described the process as being “a bit counter-intuitive to think that more information can be captured from a detector which uses just a single pixel rather than the multi-megapixel detectors found in conventional digital cameras. However, digital camera sensors have a very limited sensitivity beyond the spectrum of visible light, whereas a single-pixel detector can easily be made to capture information far beyond the visible, reaching wavelengths from X-ray to TeraHertz.”

The team’s paper, 3D Computational Imaging with Single-Pixel Detectors, is published in the journal, Science.

  • Sam Scott

    The University of Glasgow Involved in Fraud

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    A whistleblower was subjected to unlawful discrimination by former bosses at the fourth-oldest

    university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. He is suing

    senior members at the University of Glasgow and the university for discrimination and constructive


    The former employee refused to disclose details about the case but a senior university member

    confirmed that the whistleblowing was about publishing inaccurate medical data which could

    potentially cause catastrophic damage to patients. He also added that both the General Medical Council

    and General Dental Council were informed about the incident.

    The former employee, kept tape recordings of the comments he claims the ex-bosses made to or about him. In a written statement

    presented to the employment tribunal in Glasgow, he said: “The race discrimination acts were caught on tape recording for example the

    sarcastic jokes about my race, my complain about the race discrimination and the following victimisation/discrimination were all caught

    on tape recording”

    The allegations relate to a 21-month period between 2009 and 2011, when the employee was a clinical research fellow and senior house

    officer at the School of Medicine. Following the allegations, one of his ex-bosses, Professor Colin Murray, left his senior position and fled

    the country.

    Mel Sangster, representing the University of Glasgow, argued the tribunal should not be held because the claims were made months after

    the alleged discrimination occurred.

    Not long ago, the University of St Andrews spent more than £200,000 on legal fees to defend a claim for constructive dismissal by a

    lecturer. He claimed he had been forced out by bullying and intolerable working conditions. But the legal fees were 10 times the amount

    the university might have paid in compensation had it lost the case. “In this case, the reputation of Glasgow University was seriously

    damaged … With all conflicts, you know where you start but you do not know where they end” said the senior member.

    The employee is suing Professor Jeremy Bagg, Professor Colin Murray, Professor Gordon Ramage, Mr David Lappin and others such as

    Professor Anton Muscatelli. Regardless of the tape recordings, the legal fees of the claims are expected to be 10 times the amount the

    University of St Andrews paid.

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